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Irrigation and Autocracy

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  • Jeanet Sinding Bentzen

    (Department of Economics)

  • Nicolai Kaarsen

    (Department of Economics)

  • Asger Moll Wingender

    (Department of Economics)

Abstract

We show that societies with a history of irrigation-based agriculture have been less likely to adopt democracy than societies with a history of rainfed agriculture. Rather than actual irrigation, the empirical analysis is based on how much irrigation potentially can increase yields. Irrigation potential is derived from a range of exogenous geographic factors, and reverse causality is therefore ruled out. Our results hold both at the cross-country level, and at the subnational level in premodern societies surveyed by ethnographers.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 12-06.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 11 Jul 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:1206

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References

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  1. Oded Galor & Andrew Mountford, 2008. "Trading Population for Productivity: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 2008-2, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  2. Nathan Nunn, 2005. "Historical Legacies: A Model Linking Africa's Past to its Current Underdevelopment," Development and Comp Systems 0508008, EconWPA.
  3. Olsson, Ola, 2009. "On the democratic legacy of colonialism," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 534-551, December.
  4. Oded Galor & Omer Moav & Dietrich Vollrath, 2009. "Inequality in Landownership, the Emergence of Human-Capital Promoting Institutions, and the Great Divergence," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(1), pages 143-179.
  5. repec:fth:stanho:e-92-3 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Francisco Gallego, 2008. "Historical Origins of Schooling: The Role of Democracy and Political Decentralization," Working Papers ClioLab 7, EH Clio Lab. Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.
  7. Abhijit Banerjee & Lakshmi Iyer, 2010. "History Institutions and Economic Performance: The Legacy of Colonial Land Tenure Systems in India," Working Papers id:2811, eSocialSciences.
  8. Williamson, Jeffrey G., 2011. "Trade and Poverty: When the Third World Fell Behind," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262015158, December.
  9. Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2011. "Trade and Poverty: When the Third World Fell Behind," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262015153, December.
  10. Diego Comin & William Easterly & Erick Gong, 2006. "Was the Wealth of Nations Determined in 1000 B.C.?," NBER Working Papers 12657, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Hibbs Jr., Douglas A. & Olsson, Ola, 2003. "Geography, Biogeography and Why Some Countries are Rich and Others Poor," Working Papers in Economics 105, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics, revised 15 Jan 2004.
  12. Oded Galor & Andrew Mountford, 2006. "Trade and the Great Divergence: The Family Connection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 299-303, May.
  13. Bates, Robert H. & Lien, Da-Hsiang Donald., 1985. "A Note on Taxation, Development and Representative Government," Working Papers 567, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  14. Elinor Ostrom & Roy Gardner, 1993. "Coping with Asymmetries in the Commons: Self-Governing Irrigation Systems Can Work," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 93-112, Fall.
  15. Easterly, William, 2007. "Inequality does cause underdevelopment: Insights from a new instrument," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 755-776, November.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. The impact of irrigation on democratization
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2012-08-29 15:01:00
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Cited by:
  1. Litina, Anastasia, 2013. "Unfavorable Land Endowment, Cooperation, and Reversal of Fortune," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 114, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  2. Nunn, Nathan, 2014. "Historical Development," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 7, pages 347-402 Elsevier.
  3. repec:cge:warwcg:113 is not listed on IDEAS

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